Go from concept to portfolio-ready
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend art school, CCA offers several opportunities for young students to explore fine arts, architecture, design, or creative writing before starting their college journey.
CCA’s Pre-College Program is the perfect opportunity to take studio-focused courses taught by accomplished faculty who help you push beyond concepts to portfolio-ready pieces. You’ll earn three college credits and study on our historic Oakland campus, immersed in our inspiring community and just 20 minutes from downtown San Francisco.
Additional opportunities for high school students include Summer Atelier, which focuses on specific areas such as printmaking or photography, and a range of CCA Extension courses offered at various times throughout the year. Middle schoolers can also immerse themselves in the practice of artmaking through our Young Artist Studio Program.
Who can apply?
Develop your skills and experience life as an art and design student first-hand.
High school students
- Pre-College: Students completing their sophomore, junior, or senior years; must be at least 15 years old by June 2019 and no older than 18 to apply for admission
- Summer Atelier: Students completing their freshman year by June 2019
- CCA Extension courses: Students who are 18 years of age or older
Middle school students
- Young Artist Studio Program: Students completing sixth, seventh, or eighth grades
Take your art to the next level
CCA’s Pre-College Program is one of the best pre-college summer programs for high school students. It takes place on our Bay Area campuses every summer for four weeks in June and July. Designed for rising high school juniors and seniors and recent high school graduates, Pre-College gives students a chance to confidently explore what it’s like to be in art school, live on campus, grow as an individual and artist or designer, earn three college credits, and pursue purposeful work suited for any art and design admissions portfolio.
On our lush Oakland campus, you’ll take studio-focused, college-level courses taught by expert and caring faculty ready to help you create and refine real work. You’ll select courses and studios based on which discipline you’d like to explore in greater depth. Classes, which typically include 12 to 18 students, take place Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 4 pm (with a one-hour lunch break).
Pre-College Program studios
- Creative Writing
- Drawing and Painting
- Fashion Design
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Design
- Interior Design
The 2D Animation studio focuses on working by hand with drawing tools and capturing with pencil test software. Projects include making drawings, flipbooks, acting sketches, storyboards, and QuickTime movies. By the end of this course, students understand the fundamentals of animation and should be able to animate characters successfully using dynamic design, smooth motion, and acting.
How to apply
All Pre-College Program applications are submitted online using CCA’s online application. We recommend you apply to our Pre-College Program early because space in each studio is limited. We begin accepting Pre-College Program applications on Jan. 9.
2019 Pre-College Program application requirements:
- High school transcript
- Application fee: $50 (nonrefundable)
- Tuition: $3,425
- Housing fee (if housing is desired): $1,350 (nonrefundable) and $150 damage deposit (refunded after move out less any damage charges)
Completed applications are processed and reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. An application won’t be reviewed until all materials—including transcripts, fees, and scholarship materials, if applicable—are received. Within two weeks of receiving your completed program application, we’ll email you an admission notification including studio and housing placement.
Pre-College for international students
International students are welcome to attend CCA’s Pre-College Program. It’s a wonderful way to pursue your artwork while experiencing American culture and get acquainted with a new country’s academic and college life.
Young Artist Studio Program
Since its inception in 1997, our Young Artist Studio Program (YASP) has provided an exciting opportunity for youth who have recently completed the sixth, seventh, or eighth grades to be immersed fully in the practice of artmaking in a professional art school setting.
YASP features focused summer classes that meet in the morning and afternoon, with a 45-minute break for lunch (a lunch plan is available). Tuition includes all material and lab fees, and each day, students work on various projects based on their desired subject. The all-day programs culminate with an exhibition held in CCA’s Oliver Art Center, where family and friends have an opportunity to see what the young artists have created during their time in YASP.
How to register
YASP registration opens by the third week of February. All initial registration must be received by standard mail only. Registration materials sent by expedited mail won’t be processed. Absolutely no walk-in registrations will be accepted during the initial registration period. In April, walk-in registrations will be processed along with those received by mail. Emailed registration forms won’t be accepted at any point.
Strengthen and exhibit your work
CCA’s Summer Atelier is a noncredit, nonresidential program available to students who'll have completed their freshman year of high school by June 2019. With different courses held on both our campuses, you’ll either attend the San Francisco Atelier or Oakland Atelier. You’ll hone your skills, learn new concepts and techniques, and meet others from around the Bay Area who share your interest in art. At the conclusion of the program, you'll participate in a student exhibition.
2019 Summer Atelier courses and tuition:
- Drawing and Painting (San Francisco, July 22–Aug. 9): $1,375
- Explorations in Screenprinting (Oakland, July 15–26): $940
- Jewelry Design and Metal Arts (Oakland, July 15–26): $940
- Graphic Novel Workshop (Oakland, July 8–26): $1,375
- Photography Intensive (Oakland, July 22–26): $475
In the Graphic Novel Workshop at the Oakland Atelier, students learn what it takes to write and draw comic books, manga, and graphic novels. Discover how to create an effective narrative and present a story using images, then develop a short comic while working to create a distinct and personal illustrative style. Both traditional media and digital drawing tools are used, addressing a wide breadth of options when developing a preferred toolset. Participants also learn about self-publishing techniques in print and online, how to print work, and how to set up a basic website where they can publish their work digitally.
How to register
Mail the following items to California College of the Arts, Office of Special Programs/Summer Atelier, 5212 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94618. Registrations that omit any of the following three items won’t be processed.
- Completed registration form (remember to sign the waiver and check the box that you’ve read the refund/conduct/absence policies at the end of the application)
- Full tuition or initial payment, unless you’re applying for a scholarship
- High school transcript(s) (unofficial transcripts are acceptable)
Registrants are enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis. This program typically reaches maximum enrollment, so send in your application form as soon as possible. Confirmation will be sent within one week of the registration form’s receipt.
Inspiration and guidance for high school students
Our studio art courses for high school students, which are held throughout the year, are special opportunities to develop your drawing skills and experience rigorous artmaking coursework and in-class expectations, preparing you for college and launching your own creative practice.
Available CCA Extension courses
2D and 3D Spatial Explorations
Learn to manipulate flat planes (2D) into 3D objects and turn freehand drawings into physical models. Students use a range of model-making materials, including paper, board, wood, sticks, foam, filament thread, and glue, as they apply design thinking across a range of projects.
Learn to draw from a live model (a standard practice in almost all art and design college settings). Students spend the first class focusing on a variety of drawing issues. All eight subsequent sessions involve drawing from a nude model.